Almost everything you do as a parent involves communicating with your child. If you do it poorly, very likely you’ll get a result you don’t like. If you do it with skill, the results will amaze you.

I wholeheartedly believe this. Every parent can benefit greatly by improving the way they communicate with their child. That’s why I wrote the book, Connect with Your Kid: Mastering the Top 10 Parent-Child Communication Skills.

By all means, get the book and read it.

But just reading the book isn’t the secret. The book is meant to be used as a how-to reference while you do the work to ingrain the skill as an automatic habit.

Secret #1: Get plenty of reps. Work on one skill at a time (I always recommend beginning with “listen to understand”) while you put it into practice with your child. Making a skill a habit happens when you establish a new circuit of brain cell connections that enable the skill. The brain cells are stimulated to connect when you get lots of reps (repetitions in the real world of your family).

Secret #2: Work with a coach. The journey of ingraining a new skill has its ups and downs. With the inevitable mistakes and discouragement, it can be tempting to give up. And a lot of parents do. The secret is to partner with another parent who has also committed to improving. This individual could be your spouse or another parent. You can connect regularly to hold each other accountable, learn from mistakes, encourage each other, and reset your commitment to practice. This is a very effective approach, and it’s free.

For more tips, read pages 36-38 of Connect with Your Kid.

To help you get started with partnering with another parent for coaching, I wrote Parents Coaching Parents, a brief how-to guide for using skills you already have to coach effectively.